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Tag Archives: drunk driving

Wheaton DUI defense lawyerThe legal blood alcohol content limit for anyone operating a motor vehicle is 0.08 percent. Consequently, many motorists assume that an individual may only be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) if their blood alcohol content is above this limit. However, it is possible to be arrested for DUI even if you pass a breathalyzer test or refuse to take the test. If you have been arrested for DUI, knowing your rights regarding DUI-related traffic stops, breathalyzers, and blood tests is key to forming a strong defense against the charges.

Illinois Law Does Not Require a Failed Breath Test for a DUI Arrest

In Illinois, 0.08 percent BAC or higher is considered intoxicated “per se” or intoxicated by law. However, Illinois law does not require per se intoxication for a DUI arrest. The law states that it is illegal to be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of alcohol

  • Under the influence of an intoxicating compound that makes the driver unable to drive safely

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IL defense attorneyIf you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and face DUI accusations, you likely have many questions about how the charges may impact both your personal and your family life. As a professional driver, you are held to a higher standard than the typical everyday driver. DUI has severe consequences for all drivers, but for a CDL holder, you risk losing your license for a year or more, depending on the circumstances. As you probably know, if you do not have a license, you do not have a job with your CDL. It is essential to retain the services of an experienced DUI attorney to protect your way of life and your future.

In Your Personal Vehicle

While you are not “on the clock” or working, you are welcome to relax and enjoy an alcoholic beverage, if you so choose. However, be aware that if your blood alcohol concentration exceeds the legal limit of 0.08% and you decide to drive, you put your professional driving career on the line, even if you are in your personal vehicle. You face potential CDL disqualification for one year.

BAC Is under 0.08%

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Wheaton DUI defense attorney, DUI charges, drinking and driving, drunk driving, drunk driversMany drivers mistakenly believe that if they drive carefully after having a couple of alcoholic beverages, then the police will have no reason to suspect drunk driving. This erroneous concept likely stems from the mental image of inebriated drivers drifting between lanes, failing to maintain a constant speed, and failing to come to a complete stop at stop signs. While this scenario exists, the error in judgment is the belief that if someone can sufficiently operate a motor vehicle and obey traffic laws, police will have no reason to suspect alcohol consumption.

Officers understand that more drunk drivers are on the road between certain hours in the vicinity of bars, clubs, and other drinking establishments; therefore. they intentionally look for other reasons to pull over drivers.

Driving Too Carefully is Suspicious, Too

According to The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly one-third of all drunk driving related fatalities occur on weekends. Statistics also show that the highest number of drunk drivers are on the road between midnight and 3 A.M., and fatal crashes are four times higher at night than during the day. This information may be slightly skewed as police actively look for reasons to pull people over during those hours, hoping that once the window rolls down, they can collect further evidence of alcohol consumption. In fact, there are several cases in which an officer pulled a driver over because they were “driving too carefully” and it seemed suspicious. Many drivers find themselves pulled over for minor, non-moving violations, such as:

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DuPage County DUI attorneys, field sobriety testsGetting pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence means that a police officer will take every opportunity he or she has to determine if you are driving drunk. From the moment an officer spots your vehicle, he or she will be gathering evidence that may be used to prove in court that you were driving under the influence. 

One way officers will attempt to determine your level of intoxication is through field sobriety tests. There are three types of field sobriety tests:

  1. Walk-and-Turn Test. In this test, officers have drivers walk heel to toe in a straight line and then have them pivot around asking them to walk in the other direction. An officer may also ask you to count your steps as you take them.
  2. One Legged Stand Test. An officer will ask a driver to stand on one leg with the other leg outstretched in front of the body. The driver will be required to hold this position without swaying or moving arms for balance.
  3. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. When a person is intoxicated, his or her eyes will involuntarily jerk as they focus on a moving object. In this test, an officer will have a driver follow a finger moving right and left watching for the jerking eye movements.

Field Sobriety Tests Are a Poor Measure of Impairment

There are a couple of problems with these field tests. First, a driver may not be able to complete these tasks acceptably when sober. Some people with or without health conditions find it hard to stand on one leg without losing balance. The nervousness that comes with any police interaction can also play a role.

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Wheaton DUI defense lawyer, Illinois DUI chargeIllinois laws are designed to be tough on people who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Still, sometimes law enforcement makes mistakes. While every case is unique, there are often good defenses to DUI charges. You have a right to a vigorous defense against criminal charges.

Common Defenses to DUI

Prosecutors and law enforcement often present their cases as being based on careful, trained observation and scientific evidence. However, there are often several defenses to DUI charges that demonstrate the real weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Common DUI defenses include the following:

  • Challenging the initial stop;
  • Challenging the accuracy of the field sobriety tests;
  • Challenging the accuracy of the Breathalyzer machine and operation; and
  • Alternate explanations for watery and bloodshot eyes, flushed skin, and slurred speech. 

If you can show that the initial stop by the police officer was illegal, then all the evidence gathered as a result of the illegal stop has to be thrown out of court.

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